May 15, 2014
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ/AP) - Employees at the West Virginia mine where two men were killed during a severe coal burst were notified weeks earlier that they may lose their jobs due to mass layoffs, according to a report by the Associated Press and WSAZ.COM.
St. Louis-based Patriot Coal gave notice to 450 workers at its Wells mining complex near Wharton on April 23, the report said.
The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act requires companies to provide 60 days notice to employees if large layoffs are possible, according to the report.
The Wells mining complex includes Brody Mine No. 1, where miners Eric Legg and Gary Hensley died on Monday, May 12.
The two workers were performing a risky method known as retreat mining, where the roof is intentionally collapsed to retrieve more coal. Retreat mining is considered standard practice in mines where coal reserves are running out, the report said.